New Washington Board meeting to prioritize removal of fish barriers statewide

A new board responsible for restoring fish habitat by expediting the removal of fish barriers in Washington’s streams will hold its first meeting June 17 in Olympia.

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Raymond adopts ordinance allowing All Terrain Vehicles on some streets

You can now drive your ATV on some streets in Raymond – as long as you have the proper paperwork. The city announced yesterday that they have approved ordinance 1823 which authorizes

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House hears bills to provide flood funding in Chehalis Basin

Two bills aimed at providing funding for flood relief projects in the Chehalis River Basin and statewide were heard in the House

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Grays Harbor EMS prepping local high schools for new graduation requirement: CPR training

OLYMPIA, Wash. - New Graduation requirements in Washington will save lives on and off the High School campus, and if they don't know already, your students will learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation. "They figure the more training they can get, the better for everybody in the public and in school."
Sharryl Bell with Grays Harbor EMS said last week that they are working with local schools to make sure that the Class of 2014 knows what to do in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest emergency. "A lot of school like Hoquiam High School has a program set up, Aberdeen [trains] their staff and they are working toward their students. For those that are already doing it in school it's not a big deal." Bell said students will also be trained to use Automated External Defibrillators that restart a heart with an electric shock.
According to the American Heart Association, of the nearly 360-thousand people in the US that suffer sudden cardiac arrest outside of the hospital, only 9.5% survive, often because they don’t receive timely CPR.  Bystander CPR, when given right away, can double or even triple a victim’s chances of survival.
Substitute house bill 1556 was signed into law earlier this year. Beginning this school year, instruction in CPR must be included in at least one health class necessary for graduation.

Biomass Facility Protested in Olympia

Olympia, WA – On October 25, activists from Olympia Rising Tide hung two banners at the Evergreen State College in opposition to a proposed biomass gasification facility. Olympia Rising Tide opposes biomass because it is a false solution to climate change and would lead to a massive resurgence of clear-cut logging in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere.

The Evergreen State College is considering a biomass gasification facility as a replacement for the current natural gas facility that heats the school. The Washington Department of Natural Resources claims that biomass is carbon-neutral because emissions from the gasification process contribute to the already cycling stock of carbon that is being exchanged between the biosphere and the atmosphere as part of the earth's carbon cycle. Using this logic, even burning coal is carbon-neutral because the emissions contribute to the already cycling stock of carbon.

AG’s public safety and consumer protection bills to be heard this week

SB 6202 would provide new protections for vulnerable adults. The bill will be heard by the House Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee at 10 a.m. today in the John O’Brien Building, Hearing Room E. The bill is sponsored by Sen. James Hargrove, D-Hoquiam, and co-sponsored by Sen. Janéa Holmquist, R-Moses Lake, among others.

 PROTECTING VICTIMS OF SERIAL DOMESTIC ABUSERS

ESHB 2427 would require longer sentences for repeat, felony domestic abusers. The bill, prime-sponsored by Rep. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe, will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee at 10 a.m. today in the J.A. Cherberg Building, Senate Hearing Room 1.

PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL EXPLOITATION

ESHB 2424 would give law enforcement an additional tool to prosecute those who intentionally access child pornography. The bill, prime-sponsored by Rep. Al O’Brien, D-Seattle, will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in the J.A. Cherberg Building, Senate Hearing Room 1.

Senate and House Republicans announce pro-jobs legislation

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Calling it an opportunity for the Legislature to pro-actively support job creation, Republicans from the House and Senate today announced a package of bills aimed at helping private-sector employers create and retain jobs.
 
“Just hours ago, we learned that unemployment in our state jumped again -- to 9.5 percent. People are hurting,” said Sen. Janéa Holmquist, ranking Republican on the Senate Labor, Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee. “A top priority for the 2010 Legislature should be to protect and create new jobs. We understand that our state’s economic recovery depends on our business climate and employers’ ability to provide jobs to our citizens.”

Kreidler seeks ban on insurers’ use of credit information

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is calling for a ban on the insurance industry’s controversial practice of credit scoring. A hearing on the legislation, HB 2513, is scheduled for tomorrow, Jan. 20 at 6 p.m. in Olympia.
“Thousands of consumers have contacted my office over the last several years complaining about their insurance company’s use of credit scoring,” said Kreidler. “They say, ‘I pay my bills on time, I pay my premium, have never filed a claim or had a ticket – why is my premium going up?’”
Despite strong consumer protections enacted eight years ago by the Washington state legislature, insurers are relying more and more on credit scores. Today, some even consider your level of education. They take certain information in your credit history and other factors to create an “insurance score.”  The factors they consider and how much weight they assign them vary, making it extremely difficult—if not impossible—for you to understand what steps you can take to improve your score and get a better rate.
Today, your insurance credit score can impact your auto and homeowners rates by as much as 50 percent. 
“The industry’s reliance on this tool is startling,” said Kreidler.  “Today, your insurance score can have a bigger impact on your premium than an at-fault accident,” he said. “The insurance industry should be embarrassed that it’s using such an arbitrary and unfair tool like credit scoring.”

McKenna plans to take action to protect victims of state’s most dangerous criminals

OLYMPIA — When shocking crimes are committed by repeat offenders, members of the public often ask elected officials why they didn’t do more to keep those criminals off the streets.
 
 “We know there are ticking time bombs out there, just waiting to go off,” said Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna. “Local police and prosecutors know the identities of many of the worst repeat abusers. Today we’re asking the Legislature to allow the authorities to bring them to justice.”
 
The attorney general’s domestic violence bill was among those previewed at a press conference Monday. Just as the law gives extra penalties to serial car thieves and drug dealers, McKenna’s proposal clamps down on repeat domestic abusers. The legislation targets abusers who graduate to felony abuse, which often involves firearms or other deadly weapons.

AARP Endorses Health Care Bill HR 3962

OLYMPIA, Wash. - The nation's leading senior's lobby, AARP, is using its considerable clout in the health care reform debate by endorsing the Affordable Health Care for America Act, set to be considered by the U.S. House of Representatives this weekend. This is the first time the group has endorsed a particular bill. Washington state is home to 935,000 of AARP's 40 million members; the group has determined most of them would benefit if the bill passed.

Ingrid McDonald, advocacy director for AARP Washington, says protecting Medicare for those 65 and older is one of the group's top priorities, and she feels this legislation does that.

"Unless we make some smart changes now to make the program more efficient and viable, it won't be around for people's children and grandchildren. This health reform package would secure the program for the future and improve it immediately for current beneficiaries, by closing the 'donut hole' and other measures."